On The Up
A blues-country communion, meet the new sound of Nashville
every ounce of creativity that had been building up in my heart and soul came out
John Osborne is the most exciting guitarist in country music right now. Alongside his vocalist brother TJ, he has spent 10 years carving a niche in Nashville, combining rock and classic country influences with some lightning melodic lead work and bagging a bunch of awards for 2015 debut Pawnshop.
“The second I learned to play three chords on the guitar, I realised, ‘This is an open canvas’” John tells TG. “It was like every ounce of creativity that had been building up in my heart and soul and mind just came flooding out and everything changed for me. I distinctly remember the moment that my dad taught me the pentatonic blues scale and after that moment I never looked back.”
The duo cite a library of influences, from Willie Nelson’s open political stance – they’ve spoken out in favour of gun control and weed among other hot topics – to a string of bluegrass and country picking styles through to grunge and Southern rock. “The one thing that ties it all together is blues,” says John. “The stuff that sticks the most with me is the stuff that has the most heart. I always find myself going back to that because I think people feel it.”
Take a listen to the six-minute plus album edit of Shootmestraight, the lead single from upcoming second record Portsaintjoe, and you’ll hear an exhilarating, emotive lead player move from Page-y pentatonics, to Prince funk into Bb-style bends. The key to the performance was recording in front of a beer-buzzed crowd of friends and family on the final day of recording.
“[Our producer] Jay Joyce was like, ‘This is the time to do it.’ So I played it as if I was performing live at a gig and that ended up being the take.” says John.
“He wanted that magic performance and that’s how he got it.”
Forfansof ’68 Fender Telecaster, Blackface Bassman, Blonde Bassman GEAR Cadillac Three, A Thousand Horses
Bluegrass, grunge and Southernrock:themultifarious sound of the Bros Osborne